Thomas shares wisdom with C-L players

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, February 10, 2004

WESSON — Big No. 77 Washington Redskin Randy Thomas set foot inStone Stadium on the Co-Lin campus Monday for the first time since1997. Thomas, who was an offensive lineman for the Wolves from1995-97, returned Monday afternoon to speak to the Wolfpackfootball team for new head coach Glenn Davis. No. 77 was alsoThomas’ jersey number at Co-Lin.

Thomas, who stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 306 pounds, currentlyplays guard for the Redskins after spending four years with the NewYork Jets. He also was a lineman for Coach Jackie Sherrill and theMississippi State Bulldogs from 1998-1999.

“It feels great,” said Johnson before addressing the footballteam. Johnson said it was the first time he had stepped back on thefield since he left. He said he has been to Co-Lin’s campus a fewtimes since graduation.

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While at Co-Lin, Thomas played for head coach Phil Broome andoffensive coordinator Glen Davis.

Thomas was here to talk to the Co-Lin players and lend hisassistance to help with the athletic program, particularly theweight training room.

“It hurt me to see the weight room,” said Thomas about itscurrent status. “We have to work on things like that. We have toget the program back on top. We have to build for the future.”

To the players he talked about respect and doing the rightthing. “Walk with your head up,” Thomas said. “Pull up your pants.When I got to State, people respected me. I worked hard. It’s goingto be a challenge.

“It’s going to start at Co-Lin. Only you control that.”

Thomas said leaving his hometown of East Point, Ga., and comingto Co-Lin helped him get away from the trouble he saw aroundhim.

“I never had to fight after I walked away from Georgia,” saidThomas. “The next 2 to 3 years spent are the most important in yourlife. I’ve been able to make the right decisions. I just put myselfin the right situations. Make something of yourself. Educationshows you can be motivated and disciplined.”

When he first signed his pro contact with the Jets, Thomas knewwhat he was going to do with his money. “Some guys just think aboutthemselves. They think about gold, diamonds, etc. The first thing Iwanted to do was get my mother a house. And my sister a house. ThenI’d get myself a car.”

Davis said he recruited Thomas back in 1995 when he was still anassistant coach with Holmes Community College. “Randy was such agood athlete. He played both ways. He could really move hisfeet.”

When Davis accepted a coaching position at Co-Lin, he allowedHolmes two weeks to talk with and sign Thomas. However, Thomaswanted to go where Davis was heading, to Co-Lin.

“I met a lot of good guys here,” stated Thomas. “It’s a familyoriented football program.”

Thomas said he has learned to appreciate Co-Lin more. “I havemore respect for the guys today.”

Thomas urged the players to do the right thing and make the mostof their time on and off the field at Co-Lin.

“I wanted to do something with my life,” explained Thomas. “Itook advantage of a chance and came to Co-Lin. It was the closestthing to being a church. It can be yours tomorrow.”

Thomas spent his freshman and sophomore years at Co-Lin. Hehelped the Wolves accumulate a 15-5 record in his two years, going8-2 his freshman year under head coach Phil Broome.

At Co-Lin, Thomas was named to the All-American, All-Star andAll-Region teams. He was named the best JUCO lineman in the stateby the Jackson Clarion-Ledger and fifth best playeroverall.

Following graduation from Co-Lin, Thomas enrolled atMississippi State and was an immediate impact player on the Bulldogoffensive line. He was named first time All-Southeastern Conferenceand was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll.

Thomas started all 12 games at right guard and led the teamwith 90 knockdowns for an offense that gained 3870 yards. Hegraduated from Miss. State with a degree in educational psychologyand a minor in criminal justice. Thomas still wants to pursue aMasters degree in criminal justice. He earned SEC Academic HonorRoll recognition with a 3.12 grade point average.

Thomas was selected by the New York Jets in the second roundof the 1999 NFL Draft (57th overall). He became the first Jetsrookie guard to open the season in the starting lineup since RandyRasmussen in 1967. He was the only rookie guard to start all 16games in the NFL and was named to nearly every All-Rookieteam.

Thomas was one of the first free agents signed by Washingtonduring the 2003 offseason, touted among the most coveted players onthe free agent market. He has started every game he hasparticipated in throughout his career (61) and two postseasoncontests.

In March of 2003, Thomas signed with the Redskins.

Thomas was born January 19, 1975, in East Point, Ga. Hebegan playing football in the 10th grade at Tri Cities (East Point,Ga.) High School. Thomas played tight end. He also lettered inbasketball, playing center and forward and saw time pitching forthe baseball team.

Thomas likes to watch basketball and listen to music. Hisfavorite NBA team is the Atlanta Hawks and his favorite player isSteve Smith.

Thomas likes to eat and prefers the all-you-can-eat buffet.He also likes to go fishing in Fayetteville, Ga. After his days areover playing for the NFL, Thomas would like own arestaurant

Thomas and his wife Teresa have a daughter, Brandi Nicole,and a son, Randy Lamar, Jr. He also owns a Pomeranian dog.

The Redskins finished the 2003-04 season with a 5-11 recordand head coach Steve Spurrier resigned. With new head coach JoeGibbs, Thomas likes the future. “It is great to have Joe Gibbsback. “He likes offensive linemen.”